Joe Cornish’s alien invasion action comedy Attack the Block was my favorite film of last year, and it made a bonafide star out of lead actor John Boyega. The Brit immediately capitalized on that film’s success, snagging the lead role in Spike Lee’s HBO pilot, “Da Brick.” Unfortunately that show didn’t go to series, but Boyega isn’t letting that get him down. Variety says he’s just lined up a starring role in a film called Half of a Yellow Sun opposite the underrated Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton. Based on a book, the story follows three interweaving storylines set amid violence during Nigeria’s bid to be an independent republic.
Biyi Bandele will direct the film, which weaves together multiple storylines during a decade of turmoil. Boyega will play Ugwu, a houseboy for a zealous university professor presumed to be played by Ejiofor. Newton seems perfect for Olanna, the professor’s beautiful mistress who has abandoned her past life in favor of one with her new lover. And Dominic Cooper is in talks for the role of Richard, an Englishman in love with Olanna’s twin sister. All the while, Nigerian troops close in and all of their relationships are tested. I’m a big fan of this cast, and while Bandele is relatively untested (he’ll make his directorial debut with this film), he has a lot of experience as a playwright and novelist, so film seems like the natural next step in his creative career.